Mecca Glen School student Tryp Pugh holds up a scarf recently to demonstrate safety issues with wearing one on an OHV. It was all part of a presentation on best safety tips when riding OHVs. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Students at Mecca Glen School learn safety tips for OHV use

A presentation at the school was held recently by teachers with the Alberta Safe Riders program

A snowmobile association is bringing about off-highway vehicle (OHV) safety awareness into Alberta’s schools.

Hosted by the Alberta Snowmobile Association, the group hosted a special safety presentation to all the students at Mecca Glen School recently. The safety program is called The Alberta Safe Riders and is designed for students and young kids.

“We talk to school students throughout the province of Alberta from Kindergarten to Grade 12,” said Lori Zacaruk, with the association.

The goal is to try and attend schools every three years to ensure new kids can get an idea of some of the important safety steps needed when dealing with any OHV, including snowmobiles, ATVs and dirt bikes.

One of the key lessons within the program is to teach kids to “Ride with Respect.” Zacaruk said around 85 to 95 per cent of rural students have already been on this type of equipment.

“And even if they haven’t yet they probably will at a friend’s place or a family member’s place,” she explained.

Knowing how many kids get on these high powered machines, Zacaruk said Alberta Safe Riders tries to educate kids with the goal that they pass on that learning to other friends as well as family.

“The focus of most of our presentations, especially junior/senior is on decisions choices and peer pressure,” said Zacaruk.

The safe rider program has been running since the late 1990s. Zacaruk takes these lessons to schools and presents the information aimed at the specific age group she teaches.

“We teach approximately 9 to 10,000 kids a year,” she said.

Among the lessons include one-seat one-rider, adult supervision for younger kids and using a tether that comes off a vehicle if a rider falls off.

Zacaruk has been quite busy teaching hundreds of students each week. For more information, the Safe Riders teachers can be reached at info@altasnowmobile.ab.ca.

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Mecca Glen School Grade 1 students Turner Johnson and Abel Weibel listen to Lori Zacaruk, of Alberta Safe Riders recently about best safety tips for riding OHVs. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

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